Hard Dinero

By Guy Biederman

There is fear in my arms at 6:30 this morning; a day’s work hides beyond that golden early sun. For three days I haven’t slept a whole night–and I’m a sleeper. Always have been. This job has me bugged. Did I overbid, underbid, or make a promise that my back can’t keep?

The yellow dirt box sits on the street awaiting six tons of debris. Soil. Rocks. Bits of glass. A toy racecar. Marbles. This is not my kind of work. I’m a gardener, I like to putter among the flowers with my hand shears. I should’ve hired help, but I need the dough. Seventy-five here, a hundred there. That is my kind of work.

After 15 wheelbarrows full of dirt, I stop counting. Wind swirls the rodeo dust and I am coated with a not-so-fine layer of dirt. My nose, my beard, my inner elbow. Every inch of my coal miner’s body is covered with dirt.

At night two reddish blue eyes stare back from the mirror of a buried face, and the sight of my brown, dusty self astonishes me.

Is that me?

Jardinero, jardinero. Hard dinero.

Guy Biederman is a writing instructor at the Sitting Room in Cotati, SRJC, and College of Marin in Kentfield. He resides in Sebastopol with his wife, children, and gardening tools.

From the November 8-14, 2001 issue of the Northern California Bohemian.

© Metro Publishing Inc.